My aran crochet shawl is progressing quite well now. The first critical lession I have learned is that its a very visual process. You really need to view the pattern and keep a close eye on where things are going, the pattern description can be complicated or indeed simply confusing. But that can be easily overcome by watching the pattern progress.
The key stitch is a front post treble (FPTR) in combination with half treble (HTR) stitches. The plain parts of the work are done using HTR and the cables and raised areas are achieved using FPTR's
The "back" rows are all done using HTR, therefore the raised stitches are worked into the last "Front",
The difference in the heights of the stitches (TR & HTR) keeps things level while the TR is worked into the row below.
The classic aran pattern of cables & diamonds is worked by altering the number of stitches before & after the FPTR sitiches, this pulls or pushes the raised rows into the right position.
In the pattern above there are raised rows either side of the diamond, this really helps to keep the pattern right. These raised rows don't move so they can be used to visually ensure that the pattern is working out right.
To achieve the diamond shape, each front row the number of HTR's worked before making the FPTR is changed, starting with 3 HTR in this particular pattern. The FPTR is always worked into the lower FPTR.
This means that when the V of the diamond is being worked you are actually skipping an HTR from the previous row & then working these skipped HTR's into the centre of the diamond. Then the reverse is true for the ^ of the diamond.
As you can see its quite difficult to explain in words ... Much easier to visualise.
The patterns are worked over a consistent number of stitches, it is simply the number of HTR's that proceed & follow the FPTR stitches that are altered to create the diamond pattern.
In my pattern above the diamond is worked over 11 stitches. I'm ignoring the bobble for the purposes of this explaination.
1. 3HTR, 2FPTR, 1HTR, 2FPTR, 3HTR ( 11 stitches)
2. 2HTR, 2FPTR, 3HTR, 2FPTR, 2HTR - To achieve this, work the first 2 HTR, skip one HTR before the 2 FPTR, work the 2FPTR stitches, then work into the HTR sits above the second FPTR, work the 1 HTR from the middle of the diamond, work the HTR above the 3rd FPTR (creating the 3HTR for the middle of the diamond), then work the 3rd & 4th FPTR, skip 1 HTR and work the last 2 HTR stitches
3. 1HTR, 2FPTR, 5 HTR, 2FPTR, 1HTR (worked in the same manner as above)
4. 2HTR, 2FPTR, 3HTR, 2FPTR, 2HTR - to achieve this I work the 1 HTR, then 1 HTR into the HTR that sits above the 1st FPTR. Work the 2FPTR. skip 1HTR, work the 3 middle HTR, skip 1HTR, work the second 2FPTR, work 1 HTR into the HTR above the 4th FPTR, work the last HTR
5 3HTR, 2FPTR, 1HTR, 2FPTR, 3HTR - in the same manner as above.
This may not be a classic way of working aran crochet, but it works for me.